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  • Tyler Harman

6 Ways to Increase Sales

In all the world, there are only six ways to increase sales, and they are in order of a) importance, b) urgency and c) effectiveness:

These are obvious if you think about them, but you probably never saw a list with all six together before. Let's look at each one from a perspective you may have not considered.

#1 Increase Prices

How did you arrive at the price you set right now? Are you a gas station? A restaurant? A clothing brand? I will tell you this, in LA, you drive a couple blocks in almost any neighborhood, and I promise you will find one gas station charging a full dollar more for a gallon of gas, and there's people there filling up!

Quick Aside:

My favorite taco truck went out of business last year. There were two trucks set up a block from each other, selling basically the exact same food, but one had 2-3 folks waiting in line, and the other had 20+ people in line. Which one went out of business? Yep, the one with 20+ people! You should have seen the prices on their menu, written over with marker on masking tape, they'd raise prices from $1.25/taco to $1.29. So apologetic with their prices, to the point they went out of business! I guess it's a little too late now, but I'm willing to bet everyone waiting in that line would have gladly ponied up an extra nickel per taco to make sure they stay in business for a long time.

#2 Keep The Customers You Have

Half of this comes down to your business model. If you're selling a pet rock or something where virtually nobody ever comes back for a repeat purchase, it's really hard to survive in that business, period. But assuming your business model is built for repeat customers, what are you doing to encourage them to return? Little things matter. Once you deliberately start thinking about what you can do to get someone to return, you'll start to notice things that you can act on.

Depending on your sales cycle, paying attention to this one can have effects almost as immediate as #1, Increasing Prices.

#3 Increase Frequency of Sales

If you have repeat customers--or at least the opportunity to--what kind of retention programs do you have in place? Loyalty programs? They don't have to be discounts either for your loyalty program, you can always "value add". In fact I would almost insist that you do.

If you haven't read The 10 Marketing Myths yet, I'll spoil #3 for you: "Marketing is only for getting new customers." The truth is, a little effort here, and you'll be amazed how much your sales go up with repeat customers. You've already gotten them to take a leap of faith and trust you with their first purchase, so now with a little nudge, you should be able to get them back with minimal effort and a great ROI.

The trick is, help your customers build the habit, positively reinforce their purchases, make sure the experience is amazing, and invite them to come back soon.

Fun Fact:

This piece of advice kind of straddles the line between #2 and #3: Maybe they aren't sold on your product because they aren't using it right. If it's an eye cream or a supplement or something where dosing or the amount is important, your customers might be dismayed because maybe they're not taking enough to see results. One of the most brilliant ad campaigns we've ever seen was from Alka Seltzer, "Plop Plop Fizz Fizz". They instructed everyone to use two tablets instead of one. No kidding, their sales doubled overnight. And, I would be willing to bet good money that the product was more effective when it was used that way, too--which no doubt, created more permanent, repeat customers, knowing it works when you need it.

#4 Increase Average Order Value (AOV)

There are lots of easy things you can do to increase the order value. If you're an e-commerce company, "free shipping on orders over $50." If you're a restaurant, get them to order an appetizer or a second glass of wine. (I usually have to beg the waiters to bring me another drink because they never come back to my table!) You can upsell, bundle, or "value add".

Whether you're in e-commerce, SaaS, tech, or anything physical, all your costs like acquisition, and overhead are covered in the initial sale. That means anything extra you can sell goes straight to the bottom line (except for COGS).

#5 Bring In New Customers

This is an obvious one, especially as a new business. Without any customers, the other 5 ways to increase sales are entirely irrelevant. Good news is, there's at least 101 different ways to bring in new customers, whether you advertise, work by referral, do direct-response marketing, cold calling, PR, podcasts, etc.

One piece of advice: Most folks in an industry only use the specific methods everyone else does in that line of work, and nothing else. That means if you do anything different, you can have a serious leg up on your competition because you'd be the only one in the e-commerce industry advertising like a brick-and-mortar jewelry store.

#6 Fire Bad or Cheap Customers

This one boils down to the 80/20 Rule. 80% of your problems come from 20% of your customers. Time and resources that could be dedicated to catering to your best customers, or time you could be spending improving the product, or looking for more customers, is wasted on these customers that make everyone miserable and most likely, costing you money.

You either just refuse to serve them (politely, don't give them an excuse to smear your name), or in other cases, it's a specific product where the expenses are more than the revenue, or the customers always complain about it, etc. Just be careful that you're not getting rid of a source of "eventual repeat customers" that first buy one thing, and end up coming back for years afterwards.

In conclusion.

There's more than one way to increase sales. And the best part is when you use all six of these together. For example, if you bring in new customers to an existing business, your sales will go up. But if you keep the customers you have IN ADDITION TO the new customers you're bringing in, your sales will go up even more. And then get all of those customers to spend more money every time they come back, you got it made, my friend.

From linear growth, to exponential growth.

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